Wednesday, December 28, 2005 

In The House

We now interrupt our regularly scheduled break to comment on the PJM ads which have finally (sometimes it takes a month!) appeared on some but not all of the member sites. (What, you want everything up in a month?! Do you know how long it takes to send an e-mail these days?!?! (You know how it is, with all that spam out there!))

Of course, they're all still Doubleclick, none of them are clearly targeted toward a blog-reading audience (unlike, say, those highly compelling ACLU-are-communists blogads you see all over the dang place) and quite a few are still in-house ads.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, PJM remains PJM's most loyal advertiser.

But anyway, while sitting around with the family this week, bored out of our minds and so letting those minds wander elsewhere, we realized something not quite profound but still worth sharing: those idiotic in-house ads are more telling about why PJM is likely to fail than we first realized.

Let's start with an easy one:

    "Where else can someone write unedited in third person as an antlered mammal?" -- Bull Moose

How, in the name of all that is good and sacred, does this appeal to anyone BUT somebody who is already sold on blogging? Why would an advertiser care? You know what an advertiser might actually care about? The fact that this unexplained "Bull Moose" fellow is actually Marshall Wittmann, former Christian Coalition guy, current DLC guy, always a McCain guy. Think he might get a wide number of readers? He just might. But then again... Mr. Wittmann isn't a PJM blogger.

Here's two just demand to be considered together:

    "You couldn't have a starker contrast between the multiple layers of checks and balances, and a guy sitting in his living room in his pajamas writing what he thinks." -- Jonathan Klein, former CBS executive

    "The core of the American people has manifested itself most purely in blogs because elites for so long controlled all the avenues of communication. Those days are over now." -- Tammy Bruce, Editorial Board

Look, we all think the bloggers won the argument over Rathergate, and Charles Johnson deserves as much credit as Buckhead and the guys at Power Line. But the gloating has got to stop. Maybe it seemed for awhile there like bloggers were going to take down another media figure every other week. After Eason Jordan, heck, the future was wide open. But that isn't quite where we're at now.

What's more, we think Ms. Bruce is oversimplifying the then vs. now she sets up. Information has been democratized somewhat, but let's not kid ourselves: the blogs with the most readership and most prestige are the ones run by professional journalists, professors of law or economics or you-name-it, business executives, established writers, etc. Of course a few "nobodies" have risen to become elites... but even they aren't representative of "the people." They still tend to be a bit better educated, a bit more libertarian, and a lot more politically obsessed. The "core of American people" don't read blogs. The political obsessives who once contented themselves to read a lot and write vituperative e-mails to each other are now writing those posts for the public at large. But the vast majority of the public hasn't tuned in.

    "Opinion I can handle; it's biased narrative posing as objective reporting that really needs to stop." -- Jeff Goldstein, PJ blogger

Agreed! But so what? It's a bit of a non-sequitur unless you're already of a mind for media criticism.

And aren't you actually PJM, or as RLS puts it, PJMedia? Maybe this is nitpicking. But it still shows the organization's identity isn't terribly clear. Obviously those "branding" folks they hired awhile back weren't any good, but you'd at least think they'd tell them to pick something and promote the hell out of it. Pajamas Media? PJM? PJMedia? PJ? For crying out loud, you need one.

In all, the above quotes remind us of how self-centered -- and self-aggrandizing -- this whole Pajamas Media project has been. Simon and Johnson seem to think everyone has the exact same view of the blogs as they do, or maybe they just don't care. It's a big inside joke and they think everyone's laughing along.

Sorry, we're just laughing at you.

Saturday, December 24, 2005 

We've Been Busy

Here at Deathpool central with day jobs and Christmas plans. We'll be back on Monday with an update, and return to regularly scheduled PJM-watching next week. Updates will resume full-force after the first of the year.

For now: Happy Holidays.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005 

Daily Report

Not much to report.

Therefore we will direct you to this piece of short fiction. Our resident literary critic and poet-at-large, C. Martin Rhone, found it a touch long and nearly incomprehensible. We, however, think he is a pretentious ass and enjoyed it. Of course, we were drunk at the time.

Sunday, December 18, 2005 

A Very Special Weekend Update

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This weekend's pool standings are the same as last week's, so we're going to actually post a bit of content today. Shocking. We know.

Via Ms. Althouse and That Loveable Peasant, we see PJM Bloggers John Cole and Jeff Goldstein acting like petulant junior high schoolers. Cole:
Since it is my website, and I have read your tedious and relentless criticism of PJ (came here via Atrios, your new compadre), and I am fully aware that Althouse is the one who started (mostly) the Open Sores bit, I lumped you two together (in the etc. you can throw in Don Surber, Steve at Hog On Ice, the Commisar e at Politburo, and whoever else you would like- although they have testicles and it doesn't support your sexist thesis). And I told them I didn't want to read any more links to the crap you and your clique of PJ bashers have to say. I really am tired of it.

Goldstein (In reference to other commenter Elmo):
I don't want your respect. I don't need your respect. And you'll never have my respect. And I mean that.

You saw your opportunity, you backed your horse. And as far as I'm concerned, you picked the wrong pony. Live and learn.

But do me a favor and stop mentioning me. It creeps me out.

Cole again (responding to charges of sexism, which we think are cetainly overblown):
would argue they have been behaving like bitter jerks, for whatever the reason, but as they are not female, and the two people I singled out (for the above mentioned reasons- you were linked and Althouse is responsible for the emewrgence of the Open Sores bit), shrew was fitting. But because a descriptor is more appropriate for two women than men does not make the comment sexist.

Had I known that the 'Carnivorous Conservative' would sieze upon the lefty feminist playbook, I would have just stuck with the unisex "Axis of Asshole." It fits nicely.

Dan, when you guys call one of your PJ bashing links being 'Althoused' (ask Moxie)it leaves you open to suspicion that this is nothing more than an attention getting enterprise. There is at least as much evidence (and actually, more) of my throway remark than your charge of sexism.

And this, gentle readers, is what passes for public relations in Pajamaland. Critics are haters, or jealous, or immature, or any number of other things. Look, let us put this as clearly as we can: we read and enjoy many PJM member blogs, but we think that Simon and Johnson are running an ill-conceived enterprise with very little in the way of a plan. That's why we're here, and that's why we're running the pool.

RELATED NEWS: Cole posts, in a post headlined Blog Fights, his version of the Moxie/Peasant/Althouse/Cole/Sexism dust-up.

Thursday, December 15, 2005 

Anarcho Syndicalism.

In email correspondence, Tim Worstall points us to this post of his about Pajamas Media, syndication, and what he feels they should be doing. Yes, we're aware that it's two weeks old, cut us some slack, we're only pathetic humans, after all. From Mr. Worstall's post:
The answer lies in that word "syndication". From what I see now the PJM guys are taking this to mean syndicating bloggers and blogs to bloggers and other online readers. Which while it might be both fun and could even, given sufficient traffic, be profitable, isn’t what I thought they were first talking about when the subject was raised.

Isn't a blog-to-blog distribution network pretty much like an RSS feed? Except with PJM you can only get their 70 subscriber blogs...hrm. We're not sure how successful a model that could prove to be. Syndication to newspapers could prove valuable for all involved, but that doesn't seem to be the direction that PJM is moving.

Meanwhile, Mr. The Peasant points us to this Moxie post where she takes a look at the mysterious mystery of Michelle Malkin's ad situation. She also points out that PJM spent big dollars on an advertisement for Drudge today:
This morning I saw that Raj and Rerun have placed ads on Drudge. Ads on Drudge don't come cheap, my friends. Did they get a discount for idiotic conservatives? I doubt it. Matt Drudge HATES blogs.

My friend Andrew Breitbart (Drudge's right hand man) was the only one I heard good things about from the Pajamas Media mis-launch -- and as nice as he is -- I highly doubt that Breitbart worked a deal for them. If he did talk Matt into this, I hope Matt is awash in shame.

That's a lot of dough to be dropping without a revenue stream. Who was it with the "slow capital burn rate" theory? Because a Drudge ad, eight staffers, and 70 bloggers to pay sure seems to put the lie to that hypothesis.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005 

Let's Do The Time Warp Again

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Our favorite asshole (we mean that as a term of endearment, for we know he is truly a delicate flower) has something most interesting today. If true, then, it would seem that our earlier altercation with Dean Barnett is par for the course. His source, Jesus's General, has this to say:
It seems that Pajamas Media is influencing some of its more Euro-minded boardmembers for the better. I understand that no less than two of these quasi-Frenchman are emailing their critics with threats of utter ruination.

It's good to see the duo taking cues from the White House on how to handle dissenters. It's even better that they're doing so surreptitiously by email rather than in their blogs--it's so much more Rovian that way. The Nation certainly needs more people like them.

First of all, cudos for the apt turn of phrase.

Secondly, this makes us wonder if we've all suddenly migrated back to middle school. A clique has formed in the blogosphere, a pajama/bathrobe-clad clique, and they've decided that those of us who aren't particularly impressed with their attire should be called "fags" and given swirlies after gym class. Or something like that, anyway.

Are the Pajamadin roaming the hallways of the interweb simply looking for poor outsiders to torture? Will they threaten critics with "utter ruination" or, worse yet, DELINKING? It seems unlikely that it'd be worth the time of most of the PJM bloggers: most of them are professionals in some other field who blog in their spare time, usually blog reasonably interesting things, and get decent traffic; it's a waste to bother trolling like 13-year-olds on IRC.

That said, between Simon & Johnson's treatment of Mr. The Peasant, our interactions with Dean Barnett, Johnson sending sending his commenters after Anne Althouse, Tim Worstall not being able to get a response from PJM Marketing, and assorted other weirdness around the blogosphere, somebody at PJM corporate needs to get a leash on that dog.

We're loath to give out free advice to an organization whose failure we're counting on for our entertainment; but any first-year public relations intern, nay, anyone who's ever worked a single day in customer service, will tell you that each employee interaction with the public influences perception of the brand. Jeff Jarvis gave a lesson to Dell about exactly that, and the PJM folks need to learn the same thing.

Tom Troja was quite sincere, polite, and forthcoming with us, unfortunately the rest of PJM's representatives to the internet hoi polloi don't understand positive branding.

Monday, December 12, 2005 


Click here to enter the PJM Death Pool

We've had a long day at the office, and simply don't have it in us to post a major PJM-related update, although we promise more is on the way tomorrow. For now, to tide you over, we have a rules update and clarification.

In the event that PJM closes up shop on a day that nobody has picked, the winner will be the person who picked the next closest date after the date of close. Whoever was closest with "they'll be closed by X" will be the winner of the pool. This will be appended to the original rules post.

That's all for now, thanks for playing.

Sunday, December 11, 2005 

Death Pool: Weekend Entries Update

Click here to enter the PJM Death Pool

As has become our tradition, here are the current entries into the PJM Death Pool as of this posting. The current pool balance is $18 and growing, so remember to click the link above and get your entries in before February 16, 2006.

MDHatter: January 2
Ruth A. : February 14
Ben F: February 17 [Updated]
Michael S: March 10
J Kenefick: April 11
Tony B: April 14
CGHill: April 19
Paul H.: April 29
Sean H. : May 12
ScoopStories: May 15
P Neeman: May 22
Gary K: June 9
Rebecca: July 15
Sally E: August 1
Patrick J: Email Us Your Entry

Current Balance: $18

In other news: The ever-watchful peasant has gained insight into the secret world of PJM Board Meetings.

Thursday, December 08, 2005 

What TV Tells Us

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"Buy Tide" and "kill your parents", that is.

As promised, finally, this is our take on how a recent Variety piece relates to the PJM model of advertising. From the top of the Variety article:
But as broadcasters struggle to connect with a fractured marketplace, marketers are rethinking their approach to the entire TV spectrum. That includes such blockbuster broadcasts as the Super Bowl and the Olympics, even the Oscars.

All three events will be held in the next three months, and advertisers are being offered a wider variety of multimedia packages and ad formats.

On Super Bowl Sunday, ads will come in 15-, 30-, 60- and 90-second varieties. A number of advertisers are buying around the game -- in the pre-game or post-game show, on ESPN radio, in ESPN magazines and on an Internet service called ESPN Motion, which streams game highlights to your PC. Many are investing in retail promotions, sweepstakes and elaborate product placement deals on other ABC shows.

It's arguable that PJM is trying to tap into the "fractured marketplace" and service a particular subset of the populace that way. However, with even traditional TV advertisers realizing that a one-size-fits model is dead, why on Earth is a "new media" entity trying that out.

We suppose there's an argument to be made for taking the smaller power of each individual blog and brining them together...but that's clearly not working for PJM. As Dennis points out, their main page is boring and doesn't really add any value. Further, the services advertised (Victoria's Secret, Circuit City, etc) aren't really niche for the readers of political blogs. And they're things we already know about. Eventually, and we're betting by the end of next year, those advertisers will realize the futility of their effors and go back to more traditional media outlets. Or they'll switch to some other, more direct, form of internet advertising where the demographic data is easier to get and more in their target.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005 

Pajamas Media Advertising Update

Today we received a reply to our inquiry from Pajamas Media's own Tom Troja. The following is reprinted, with his permission, although his cellphone number has been omitted because, well, unlike some other internet luminaries he was actually quite friendly to us. Here's Tom's first reply:
We are in the process of putting together the media kit with the new numbers of all the blogs. The results really are great. Preliminary numbers from Nielsen project around 16 million page views a month and we are just getting going. We are trying to be extremely accurate with all this as we want to be based on solid reporting at the beginning. That is one of the key reasons we are using Doubleclick. They are only serving ads for us and Dart for Publishers is providing reporting. They are not tracking data, nor are they reselling us nor are we part of their network. We went with them because they are arguably the best in the business for ad serving and reporting.

This makes the relationship between PJM and DoubleClick a little bit more clear. PJM is apparently using DoubleClick solely to serve ads, and hasn't entered their network. As big a problem as many folks on the interweb have with DoubleClick, it's fair to say that they're quite adept at data gathering and reporting. And, if the projected 16 million page views come through (We'd be interested in seeing the core data along with the method used for the projections, but that's likely secret for good reason), that's quite a traffic number. How many people that actually represents is another issue, and one addressed in the post just below this one.

At the very least Tom is a Pac-10 alumn, even if he did go to USC, so he understands the plight of west-coast teams in the damnable BCS.

In other PJM-related news Dennis The Peasant posts his take of Pajamas' news he missed over the weekend while dealing with the passing of his father-in-law. With that heartache fresh, it's also good to know that he still has his day job.

Monday, December 05, 2005 

More On PJM Advertising

Over the weekend we emailed PJM Corporate about why their ads are hosted by doubleclick. As of this writing we've gotten no response. If we hear nothing by the end of tomorrow we'll likely bother PJM Principles Roger L. Simon and Charles Johnson, as well as blogger-relations PJMer Baldilocks. We'll keep you posted on any new developments.

It appears that Simon and Instapundit are still running the doubleclick-hosted PJM ads as last week. LGF, however, seems to be running two different Flash ads, one for SBC and one for Circuit City, through the PJM network. Both ads, best we can tell from out limited HTML skill, seem to be hosted by PJM rather than doubleclick (If we're wrong please feel free to correct us in comments). If this is indeed the case, it would mean that PJM is not exclusively piggy-backing off of an already established internet advertising system.

This adds another wrinkle, in that PJM could be positioning itself as both a reseller of ad-serving and an ad-server. This would make PJM fairly similar to DoubleClick's old format, before they spun off their marketing arm and focused exclusively on ad-serving from a technology stand-point. We still, however, question exactly why anyone would need this service.

If Jeff Jarvis is right, and small is the new big, one must wonder exactly what good a one-price-fits-all top-down advertising scheme for 70 blogs of varying interest and traffic is supposed to accomplish. There's a reason the New York Times and the Lake Oswego Review have different advertising rates: even were they owned by the same publisher that would no doubt be the case. If those two papers joined forces in some bizzaro universe, would it be to their benefit to set one advertising rate? Definitely not: using the NYT's rates would bankrupt the LO Review, because nobody is going to pay premium dollar for advertising in a local weekly, and by the same token using the LO Review rates would bankrupt the NYT because local weekly rates aren't going to cover their operating expenses.

PJM strikes us as the same sort of deal for blogs. Instapundit, Roger Simon, and LGF get far more traffic than YAYsports!, Solomonia or Swanky Conservative. Charging the same rate to advertise on all of those blogs seems madness. Now, there is the argument that hitting all 70 blogs for one low rate is enticing, and it's true that some people will find that appealing; however, there's no guarantee that the reader demographics are in the target audience, or that there's sufficient diversity in readership to warrant such expenditure depending on the rate. That is to say: the readership of Instapundit, Swanky Conservative, The Volokh Conspiracy, Vodka Pundit and Tigerhawk probably have a fair to high amount of overlap. Meaning that the "combined traffic" of each, in terms of unique individuals or households, is probably greatly inflated.

On the whole, this reminds us of the "we're all going to get rich through micropayments" excitement that once swept the on-line comics community, and the dot-com-era feeling that traffic = $$$. Remember, it took Amazon, one of the most successful on-line ventures of all time, five years to make it into the black, five years after the dot-bust of 2000, how likely is it that an internet start-up will be able to get five years worth of working capital out of anybody?

Tomorrow: How this all relates to TV.

UPDATE: Instapundit is now featuring ads for Victoria's Secret and Circuit City.

Sunday, December 04, 2005 

Death Pool Weekend Update

Click here to enter the PJM Death Pool

Ruth A. : February 14
CGHill: April 19
Paul H.: April 29
Sean H. : May 12
ScoopStories: May 15
Gary K: June 9
Rebecca: July 15
MDHatter: January 2
J Kenefick: April 11 (Thanks to commenter TripleJ63 & J Kenefick for the email)

Total Pool Size: $14

J Kenefick and [Update Above] P Neeman: We still can't find your entry dates, and we've sent you an email to make sure that everybody's dollar goes along with a proper date pick. Please respond, thanks.

Thursday, December 01, 2005 

And, Finally, Some PJM Advertisements

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Roger L Simon, head cheese in charge of PJM, has finally put up an announcement of Pajamas Media advertising. From Roger's post:
I'm sure everyone has noted that Pajamas Media-served ads are now appearing on this site, as they are on Instapundit today.

That's pretty much the entirety of the announcement. In comments Steven Den Beste points out that the PJM ads are hosted by doubleclick, which is apparently the ad-serving company PJM is using for these ads, and Roger explains that they'll be looking at other ad-servers moving forward.

A brief search of the PJM site returns nothing on advertising other than the advertising information page with contact info for the PJM conglomerate. No announcement that the ads are now live on the main site, an unceremonious announcement on Roger's page and the sudden appearance of the large, unsightly PJM ad on Instapundit.

Strangely, the ads they started with are ads for...Pajamas Media! Apparently this whole closed-to-the-public blog advertising thing doesn't yet have anybody interested. And why would it? There are already BlogAds, a well-established blog advertising which any blog can join and set its own rates. GoogleAds are also effective, and hit a wide-range of targeted segments based upon the content of the pages on which they appear. Perhaps the PJM ads will evolve over time, but it seems as if their first order of business is becoming some sort of blog DrudgeReport. We already have that, it's called Instapundit. See also: HuffPo.

We'll be back with a Pool-related update either Friday or this weekend. Hang tight.